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Western New England Law Review

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This Article interrogates the traditional role and effect of professionals and professionalism in America's media and civic discourse landscape. It does so by considering Ivan Illich's deschooling theory within the context of broadcast journalism's historic and traditional role in facilitating civic knowledge and engagement during the so-called Golden Era of Journalism. In revisiting "network news" history through the lens of Illich's deschooling theory, this Article highlights broadcast journalism's professionalization of political discourse. Furthermore, it contends that media law reified this professionalization through early interpretations of the bona fide newscast and news interview exemptions to the equal time rule. And finally, it concludes that both professional journalism and the media law that elevated it undermined development of a fuller and more authentic participatory democracy by relegating American viewers to passive followers of a professionalized political discourse on civic engagement.



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